Courtyard Common House

Transforming vehicular space from necessary evil to a social center


This six-unit elder housing project creates a socially vibrant home for elders both within their dwellings as well as outside in a shared gathering space. It was designed in association with The Northern Ponca Housing Authority, whose mission is to provide sustainable housing and community development services to members of the Ponca tribe of Nebraska and eligible Native Americans, Through a “Social Vehicular Courtyard”, the project implements parking seamlessly within social communal areas for a compact, efficient, and socially activated site. The one-story accessible housing complex surrounds the central common with one and two-bedroom apartments each distinguished with a colorful entry portico.

The property itself presents a significant challenge in that the western half has been designated a stormwater drainage detention area for surrounding neighborhood, forcing all development. onto the east side. While the detention area has thwarted past development proposals, here it becomes an asset – a wetland recreation area for residents of the project. The design transforms this stormwater retention area into a space to promote health with a raised boardwalk for morning walks, evening strolls, or just the appreciation of nature in a site that is suburban at its core.

This project is featured in the exhibition FACT 24: NEw Attainable House

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Project Team

FACT students:
Sawyer Kuhl
Nate Meier

Planning students:
Megan Nguyen
Mohamed Gibriel
Anna Headlee
Vadelynn Ndembet
Roland Schwichtenberg

Ethan Boerner

Actual Architecture Co.
Dennis Krymuza

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